Christian Indifference to Christian Suffering


Christians are being persecuted all over the world.  Churches are being burned and destroyed, girls are being raped and ancient Christian communities reaching back 2,000 years are being obliterated.  And the world yawns.  Most shockingly, many Christians in the West, worse than yawning, look away and in some cases embrace the perpetrators and blame our allies.

This begs the obvious question:  Why do so many Christians in America and Europe seem to not care about what is happening around the world to their fellow disciples of Jesus?  Why are we looking the other way while the brutal murder, persecution, rape and ethnic and religious cleansing is happening right before our eyes?

The answers are complicated and unfortunately, don’t offer much hope for the future.  First some history:

The fact is, Christians have never been united.  Even before 1054 and the Great Schism between Rome and Constantinople, Christians were at odds with each other.  The Schism just made it official.  The Protestant Reformation of the early 16th century further divided “Christendom” into a multitude of fractures, ending any hope of a united Christian Church.

While the Eastern Roman Empire was, for centuries, holding off the oncoming Turkish Muslim hordes, the Western Church did worse than yawn; in 1204 they irrevocably weakened the Byzantine Empire when they sacked Constantinople on their way to the Holy Land.  Much of the beauty of Venice was the booty stolen from their fellow Christians of the East.  When Constantinople finally fell in 1453, aid did not come from Christian Europe in spite of frantic pleas for assistance.

There have been great moments in the history of the West, when Christians fought together against a common foe.  Most notably when the Pole Jan Sobieski lead a heroic charge of Catholics and Protestants at Vienna in 1683 and likely saved Europe from being overrun by the Turks and becoming Muslim.  But most of the history of the West has seen Christians at each other’s throats, one long trail of bloody wars after another with World War I being perhaps the last light in the Christian West going out.  Perhaps Sobieski only bought us a few hundred years before the Muslim onslaught.

But if history is against us, so are those divisions within Christianity.  Unfortunately, for most Christians, a Christian is not a Christian.  To get an American Roman Catholic to worry about an Assyrian Iraqi Christian or to get a Presbyterian to concern themselves with a Melkite Catholic in Syria is a near impossible task.  You will have better luck raising their awareness of Buddhist monks in Tibet.  When you walk in a Baptist Church and find tracts that call Rome and the Catholic Church the “whore of Babylon” and the Pope the “anti-Christ” is it really surprising that they have such little concern for the raping of Coptic Christians in Egypt?  There is a now infamous photo of an Egyptian Copt with his hand on a blood-stained painting of Jesus on the walls of a destroyed church in Alexandria.  A comment made to me about the image from a fundamentalist Protestant was “Images of Jesus are a false idol and therefore heresy.”  And we wonder why no one cares?

And finally, the scourge of political correctness and the influence the Left has had on our culture is perhaps the greatest reason why we lack the will to fight.  Or even to care.  We see it in Hollywood, the media, in our politics and, of course, in our churches.

Even I, as a non-Catholic, yearn for some kind of leadership from the Vatican.  Pope John Paul will live forever in the hearts of those who love freedom for his courageous stance against Communism.  There was hope for Pope Benedict early on, but those hopes were quickly squashed.  When the Pope would make a statement about the persecution of Christians in the Middle East, he would invariably mention, the “occupation,” “two state solution” or some other canard to blame Israel for what the Muslims are doing to Christians.  To do so is disgusting and shameful and a further blight on the Church.  May this new Pope find the courage that so many others have lacked.

When we look to other Christian churches, the news only gets worse.  American and European main-stream protestant churches are pathetic examples of a post-Christian world.  We see a full embracing of the Palestinian cause and an apology to their terror.  They have so fallen into the leftist mantra that they can’t see the evil before their eyes.  I liken it to western feminists saying nothing about the plight of women under Islam; the genital mutilations, beatings, rapes and honor killings.  They don’t care about women; their cause has nothing to do with “women’s rights.”  They are pushing a political agenda.  It goes the same with much of the Western Christian churches.  We can raise all the awareness that we want, but they just don’t care.

There is some hope, though it is fleeting.  Among the evangelicals, Catholics, Eastern Orthodox and scattered other remnants, there are those that still do care.  And they must be awakened to move against this great evil and injustice to their fellow followers of Christ.  In addition, we must reach out to our allies outside of Christianity.  Jews, Hindus, Buddhist and so many others are very much victims today of Islamic terror and persecution.  An alliance must be formed.

For Christians, any human suffering is a cry for help, whether they be Christians or otherwise.  But it is especially critical that we heed those who are being martyred for their belief in Christ.  Differences of history, doctrine, ethnicity and nation must be set aside.  We, in the West, are in the greatest position to help, in whatever ways that may be determined.  And before we look the other way, we need to think about when the persecution comes home, and that time will arrive if we are to do nothing now.  Who will be left to save us?

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  • cynthia curran

    I mean Alexis Commeus asked for help.

  • cynthia curran

    That's true but a lot of Eastern Christians have little interested in Roman Catholics that suffered also in the communists period. Granted, Orthodox and Catholic and eastern Europe had done things back and forth. Also, while Evanglelicals are interested in North Korea mistreating christians a lot of Orthodox are not interested since most Christians in North Korea are Protestant, the East has biases against the west as well.

  • cynthia curran

    Just my experiance with Eastern Churches is the remark the West went bad going back to Charlesmagne who happen to be a political rival in Italy against the Byzantine Empire that had control still of some parts of Southern Italy.

  • MichaelMelbAustralia

    Yes i agree we should make an alliance with them somehow to help them. but don't be fooled. The Bible warns of "another gospel". Another gospel does not mean Koran, Hindu writings, etc.
    It means Christianity that has been changed. Instead of being saved by grace, you are trying to earn being saved. (Galatians 1: 6-8 KJV)

    6 "I marvel that ye are so soon REMOVED from him that called you INTO THE GRACE of Christ unto ANOTHER:
    7 WHICH IS NOT ANOTHER; but there be some that trouble you, and would PERVERT THE GOSPEL OF CHRIST.
    8 But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach ANY OTHER GOSPEL unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.

    Yes, i am Evangelical, & i come from a Catholic background with most of friends are Catholic or Muslim (who, God willing, i would die for), with hardly any evangelical friends as they are mostly fake from my experience.

    We should unite with them, but not on a spiritual enterprise because i cannot call them Christian because they use the name of Christ. Mormons use the name of Christ, are they Christian (They believe we will become as gods on the planet Kolob, bringing forth spirit babies)? Even new age often cite Jesus.
    In the end it is God who saves,, but He tells us according to His Word how

  • cynthia curran

    Yes, i am Evangelical, & i come from a Catholic background with most of friends are Catholic or Muslim (who, God willing, i would die for), with hardly any evangelical friends as they are mostly fake from my experience.

    We should unite with them, but not on a spiritual enterprise because i cannot call them Christian because they use the name of Christ. Mormons use the name of Christ, are they Christian (They believe we will become as gods on the planet Kolob, bringing forth spirit babies)? Even new age often cite Jesus.
    In the end it is God who saves,, but He tells us according to His Word how

    my ideal that since the Iraq war is running down that we can help christains whether they or you think you are christian a lot of Orthodox think you are a heretic as well but people should have religous freedom.

  • Nina

    In this comments could be seen the truth of this article. So many discourses of who is right, and whose doctrine is the true one. What does it matter when some communities are in danger of going under because they live in muslim countries? Helping them is helping human beings. Of course the Christians are supposed to feel compassion for their brethren, but do they? If they want to help, why not write their representatives, tell this in their churches, storm the media, have marches on Washington, and not let up, till they get a response.
    In the Talmud it says that if you save one human being, it is as if you saved the whole world. What do Christians think about saving human beings?

  • Flicker

    Funny thing. With the way things are going in the world today, I half expect to be martyred. Then again my fear is that I am not worthy of martyrdom (not that I want to be). Most western churches do seem to be willfully ignorant of the suffering of the rest of the body. But then again, I don't know where to begin to help. My counrty, the US, doesn't seem to want to help.

    What can I do?

  • Sailsman

    –May this new Pope find the courage that so many others have lacked.

    The current pope will betray Christianity by siding with liberation theology and socialists–and will hand S. America over Islam.

  • Chipper

    Christians have lost sight and contact of their true belief JESUS CHRIST. Try to view the situation thru JESUS'S eyes. What would he say or do. We have lived in the world so long we no longer see what the LORD sees!!

  • Zareh

    This was so evident even not too long ago.
    The first Christian nation, the Armenians, were slaughtered by the Turks, one and a half million of them in 1915 by Muslim Turks. When asked for help the British prime minister stated "The British Navy can not climb Mount Ararat".
    Entire suburbs of London are infested with Muslims who live off the British welfare system. 30% of voters in Paris municipal elections are Muslim. 90% of Turks in Germany live off of the German welfare system. Turkish growth rates are astronomically higher than the Germans. it is estimated that 50% of Germans will have Turkish ethnicity by 2050.
    It is high time for Europe to stop this non-sense if they want to keep European Christian values.
    They can start by universally recognizing the Armenian Genocide and force Turkey to recognize the Genocide and return stolen Armenian territories. Kick Turkey out of NATO so NATO can keep its secrets from reaching the Taliban and Muslim Fundamentalists all over the world. Turkey must be fragmented and eventually destroyed. It is the curse of humanity and Christianity.
    Destroy Turkey before it destroys the West and Christiandom.

  • RJohn

    Who will be left to save us?

    Salvation is of the Lord. (1 Kings 19.1-18)

    Boast in the Lord. He has already ordered up His judgments.

  • dognamedbo

    Christians in the middle east, as an example, have been there since the beginning. Many of the apostles went to what is now Iran, Iraq and Syria. Much earlier than the persecuters. I have asked our Pastor to include them in the Prayers of the Faithful at Mass on Sunday. Sadly missing. The invasion of Iraq in 2003 put the Christians in grave peril. Little protection was offered/given to the Christians. I guess some think it will never happen here. Oh yawn when told of the Christian plight in the middle east. I pray for them. I honor them. And I weep for them.

  • Cathy

    Where is the Christian outrage? Where is American outrage?

    Torture, beatings, worsen condition of American pastor held in Iran
    By Lisa Daftari
    Published April 15, 2013
    http://www.foxnews.com/world/2013/04/15/torture-b

  • Supreme_Galooty

    Picking on this church or that is folly. It is also ridiculously easy. All these churches are functions of mankind's proclivity for socializing and gathering in groups. God, in His Wisdom, may find a worthy soul here or there, but I doubt seriously that He will give a pass to all the Presbyterians in Glasgow. (Or Musselmen in Egypt, for that matter.)

  • mbkg

    My church rightly added a prayer request concerning the Boston bombings to our church prayer list. Yet our prayer list has never mentioned any of the daily atrocities against Christians in Egypt or Indonesia or Africa or Syria and elsewhere. Our prayer list has never mentioned any of the daily bombings of our Jewish cousins in Israel, or the daily atrocities against Jews occurring around the world.

    And my local church is a fairly conservative, evangelical body of Christians.

    While watching a news report on the Boston bombing event, I commented to my wife that this sorta thing happens daily to Christians and Jews around the world. My Christian wife chastised me for being callous about the victims in Boston.

    A couple of things are going on here:

    First, the secular and Progressive-oriented news media — from London to New York to the news desk at your local FM station — does not run stories documenting negative treatment of Christians and Jews at nearly the same rate as they run (and outright fabricate) regarding their more favored victim classes. The wire serves do not write them, and your local news desk editor doesn't run them.

    Rank and file Christians receive their news passively from wire service feeds. These feeds are produced by ideological Progressives with a political agenda which is hostile to Christians, Jews, and Israel.

    So rank and file Christians are ignorant.

    Second, Christians are by nature averse to conflict and controversy. The typical Christian cringes when an outspoken brother or sister points out that Satan is standing in their midst. The Devil always shouts and screams when a Christian dares to step on his tail, and our kind-hearted Christian friends want the shouting to stop. The Devil and his advocates thereby receive de facto sympathy from rank and file, conflict averse Christians who chastise their brothers and sisters who are outspoken.

  • Gabby Ogbechie

    The truth is that Christianity has become an endangered specie; an endangered religion. Whilst others are always, seemingly fanatical about their faith, the average Christian plays a role synonymous with denying Christ in public. And, it all begins with whether most Christians know what they believe, let alone feeling compelled to defend the faith. Enough of closet Christianity; lets be ready to die for Christ if need be. At a higher level of awareness, what Christendom needs right now are Apolegetics for the faith, like the defenders and spokesmen that people like IRENAEUS, TERTULIAN, CLEMENT of Alexandria, ORIGEN, and CYPRIAN of Carthage. Christendom needs fearless spokesmen who must speak truth to power. How can custodians of Truth keep quiet while spokesmen for Satan shout from rooftops? ROOFTOPS?

  • http://www.thechristianmesage.organdwww.moralmatters.org nathanbickel

    Michael –

    Thank you for your wonderful article.

    I believe that this apathetic response of Christians to Christian suffering and persecution, is a major symptom, "tip of the iceberg." Christian leaders and pastors have never correctly understood their place in the decadent culture. And, this is largely due to their misunderstanding of Scripture – specifically, Romans 13:1-8

    "Pastor Chuck Baldwin calls out Christian pastors for their silence and cowardice:" http://www.thechristianmessage.org/2013/04/pastor

    Pastor emeritus Nathan M. Bickel

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